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Greater Orlando facts for kids

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See also: Central Florida
Greater Orlando
Metropolitan area
Map of Greater Orlando
Location in the state of Florida
Country United States
State(s) Florida
Largest city Orlando
Other cities Kissimmee
Saint Cloud
Winter Garden
Daytona Beach
Winter Park
Winter Springs
Altamonte Springs
 • Total 4,012 sq mi (10,390 km2)
Highest elevation Sugarloaf Mountain
312 ft (95 m)
Lowest elevation Sea level
0 ft (0 m)
Population (2014 est.)
 • Total 2,321,418
 • Rank 26th in the U.S.

Greater Orlando, commonly referred to as the Orlando metropolitan area, Metro Orlando, and for U.S. Census purposes as the Orlando–Kissimmee–Sanford, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area, is a metropolitan area in the central region of the U.S. state of Florida. Its principal cities are Orlando, Kissimmee and Sanford. The U.S. Office of Management and Budget defines it as consisting of the counties of Lake, Orange (including Orlando), Osceola, and Seminole.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the population of Greater Orlando is 2,134,411, an increase of 51,990 new residents between 2009 and 2010. By population, it is the third-largest metropolitan area in Florida, the fifth-largest in the southeastern United States, and the 26th largest in the United States. The MSA encompasses 4,012 square miles (10,400 km2) of total area (both land and water areas).

The Orlando–Kissimmee–Sanford MSA is further listed by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget as part of the Orlando–Deltona–Daytona Beach, Florida Combined Statistical Area. This includes the Deltona–Daytona Beach–Ormond Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area (Volusia and Flagler counties), as well as the micropolitan area of The Villages (Sumter County). The Combined Statistical Area was estimated to have a population of 2,818,120 in 2010.


Principal cities

Greater Orlando urban area

Principal cities (sometimes called primary cities) are defined by the OMB based on population size and employment. In general, a principal city has more non-residents commuting into the city to work than residents commuting out of the city to work.

Suburbs with more than 10,000 inhabitants

Suburbs with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants


Roads and freeways

Limited-access highways in Greater Orlando include:

  • Florida's Turnpike, which heads southeast to the Treasure Coast and South Florida, as well as northwest to connect to Interstate 75 south of Ocala
  • Interstate 4, which meets Florida's Turnpike near the Walt Disney World Resort, heads north through the Orlando area to Daytona Beach and southwest to Lakeland and Tampa (the only entirely non-tolled freeway in the area)
  • The Beachline (Formerly Bee Line Expressway; SR 528), which meets I-4 near SeaWorld and connects to the Orlando International Airport, Space Coast, Cape Canaveral, and the John F. Kennedy Space Center
  • The Central Florida GreeneWay (SR 417), which passes around the edge of the eastern half of the area as a beltway, and connects to both Orlando International Airport and Orlando Sanford International Airport
  • The East-West Expressway (SR 408), which crosses the area from west (where it connects to Florida's Turnpike) to east (where it connects to Colonial Drive, south of UCF), passing through downtown Orlando, where it connects to Interstate 4
  • The Western Expressway (SR 429), which is partially completed, will eventually serve as a beltway in the western half of the area, connecting to Interstate 4 on both ends from Sanford in the north, through Apopka and Ocoee, and around the west side of Walt Disney World to connect southwest of Kissimmee.
  • The Apopka Bypass (SR 414), is a partial tollway beginning at US 441 Orange Blossom Trail west of Apopka to Maitland Blvd at US 441 south of Apopka. From there, the road continues as "Maitland Blvd", but is a surface road. The spur west of Apopka will eventually run north to begin the "Wekiva Expressway".

The Beachline, Central Florida GreeneWay, East-West Expressway and Western Expressway are all run by the Central Florida Expressway Authority. Florida's Turnpike and portions of tollways not inside Orange County are run by Florida's Turnpike Enterprise, a special district of the Florida Department of Transportation.

Major surface highways include US 17, US 92 and US 441 (which overlap through Orlando as Orange Blossom Trail), US 27 (Claude Pepper Highway), US 192 (Irlo Bronson Highway), SR 50 (Colonial Drive and Cheney Highway), John Young Parkway, and International Drive.

Transit systems

Bus transportation in Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties is provided by Lynx. Lynx is also doing studies into mass transit in the form of light rail, which has received varying degrees of support over the past decade.

Lynx also has express routes to Clermont in Lake County and Deltona in Volusia County. Volusia County is primarily served locally by Votran and Lake County is primarily served locally by LakeXpress.

The SunRail opened for operation in 2014. The terminal stations are currently at Sand Lake Road and DeBary. When fully completed, it will eventually connect from DeLand to Poinciana through Downtown Orlando.


SunRail (formerly referred to as Central Florida Commuter Rail) is a commuter rail system under construction in the Greater Orlando, Florida area, linking Poinciana to DeLand through Downtown Orlando. When Phase 1 is completed in May 2014, it will run for 31 miles (50 km) with 17 stations along the CSX Transportation "A" Line (former Atlantic Coast Line Railroad main line). Service is scheduled to begin from Volusia County through Orlando with eventual connectivity to south Osceola County under Phase 2.

Church Street Station, once a stop along the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, has since been redeveloped as an urban night life center, while the station itself will serve as Downtown Orlando's centerpiece SunRail stop.

Amtrak serves stations in the area in Kissimmee, Orlando, Winter Park, Sanford and DeLand. The Sanford station is the southern terminus for the Auto Train, which transports people and their vehicles directly to Washington, D.C., via Lorton, Virginia.

The other stations are served by the Silver Meteor and Silver Star, which both travel to New York City. The difference between the two lines is their paths through the states of South Carolina and North Carolina: Silver Meteor takes a coastal route through Charleston, South Carolina, and Fayetteville, North Carolina, while Silver Star moves inland through Columbia, South Carolina, and Raleigh, North Carolina.

Orlando is also the nominal eastern terminus of the Sunset Limited. However, damage to train bridges caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 has halted service to Los Angeles. As of 2007, the Sunset Limited only runs between Los Angeles and New Orleans. The Amtrak website still lists Orlando as the end of the route, suggesting that service will resume in the future.

Orlando is usually named as the initial focus of plans for a Florida High Speed Rail system in which the majority of its residents had supported, but 2.4 billion dollars of federal funding for this new system were refused by Governor Rick Scott of Florida after taking office in January 2011 due to long-term federal funding uncertainties.


The primary major airports of the area are Orlando International Airport, at SR 528 Exit 11/SR 417 Exit 17, and Orlando Sanford International Airport, at SR 417 Exit 49.

Orlando International (MCO) is a focus city of JetBlue Airways and Southwest Airlines. AirTran Airways was headquartered in Orlando and had a major hub in Orlando. JetBlue Airways also has a training facility known as JetBlue University, and is the main training center for JetBlue’s pilots, inflight crew, plus support training for its technical operations and customer service crew. JetBlue also provides general aircraft maintenance and LiveTV installation and maintenance in Orlando.

Orlando Sanford International (SFB) is generally served by charter flights from Europe, though it is also a hub for national small-city carrier Allegiant Air and home to Delta Connection Academy, a pilot training school.

In the Combined Statistical Area, Daytona Beach International Airport also serves the area, and is used by many tourists seeking to directly connect to Daytona Beach's many local offerings, such as Daytona Beach Bike Week, Speedweeks and Spring Break. It is located so its runways cradle Daytona International Speedway, making it convenient for some fans to arrive in Daytona, watch the Daytona 500 or Coke Zero 400, and then return home the same day. Daytona Beach International also serves as the main airport for pilot training at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Municipal airports in the region include Orlando Executive Airport, Kissimmee Gateway Airport, Ormond Beach Municipal Airport and DeLand Municipal Airport.


Orlando Chinatown

A Chinatown (Chinese: 奥兰多唐人街; pinyin: ào lán duō táng rén jiē) as of 2002 at 5060 West Colonial Drive (located outside city limits). According to the West Orlando News, the Chinatown features a monument of Sun Yat Sen, a donation from his granddaughter Dr. Lily Sun who unveiled it on the 87th anniversary of his death in 2012, making this the first commercial location to hold such a monument. In March 2013, a paifang was unveiled at the entrance to the Chinatown plaza, "... helping legitimize the plaza as a center for Chinese commerce." The Chinatown features an eclectic blend of Chinese, Korean, Filipino, Vietnamese and Indian cultures through its numerous pan-Asian businesses.

According to an article by the Orlando Weekly, the location of Orlando's Chinatown was once the Westside Crossing Plaza, which was a Walmart shopping center with a Publix supermarket. In 2003, the old shopping center was converted to house "... 60 pan-Asian businesses and restaurants." Financing for the project came from Chinese investors.

The Orlando Sentinel further states that "... by retrofitting the mostly vacant strip center, which includes a former Wal-Mart discount store and Publix supermarket, a group of out-of-state Chinese investors are hoping to draw more than 60 Asian-owned businesses to the site by the end of the year. " The article states that this is "... creating what the project's developers are calling the region's first Chinatown." The amenities include bakeries, restaurants, and an Asian grocery store. So the article further elaborates by saying "... finally, there's a place to buy cuttlefish and black chicken."

Since the project was a success, its report on its conceptualization and development is used as a reference for the real estate and tourism industries.

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